tv Witness LINKTV June 26, 2013 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT
[captioning made possible by kcet television] [hoofbeats] >> the annual migration of wildlife through the serengeti is one of the great spectacles of the natural world. in kenya, the migration runs across maasai communal lands. recent reforms mean that individual maasai can now sell their land, and the temptation to do deals with commercial farms and hotel chains is huge.
but this commercial development is threatening both maasai traditions and the great migration itself. dickson kaelo is a leading figure in a ground breaking project that aims to conserve communal maasai land. >> when i see a fence like this i feel very bad, i feel that, uh, the land is being enclosed and fragmented. the serengeti-mara wildebeest migration is the last large mammal migration on earth, and if areas such as these ones are fenced and their movements is curtailed, that might mean the end of this migration. >> dickson helps set up the naboisho conservancy, a wildlife reserve of 20,000 hectares, owned by about 500 maasai families.
it's run by a team of maasai whose challenge is to balance the needs of local people, the wildlife, and the tourists. set up in 2010, the conservancy is now at a critical point. it is trying to secure a corridor of land to connect with the maasai mara national reserve. this additional corridor will save the great migration route. in a few days' time, dickson will hold a meeting that will decide if the corridor plan can go ahead, and he must persuade the land owners from that area to join the conservancy. today, he's talking to one of the community's most influential leaders: james barba. >> how are you? >> fine, fine, thank you. >> nice to meet you. >> how are things? >> things are good. >> yeah. i remember that naibosho conservancy is still very much interested on your land.
>> right. >> um, we think it's a fantastic land for wildlife and we would like you to, list your land in the conservancy, sign up and be a member of the conservancy. >> what i understand so far is that for a full shelf 150 hectares you pay people by 10,000--the members-- >> every month. >> every month a 10,800, is it? >> yeah. >> for a business man like me, that money cannot be enough. >> the only one way that we can make the conservancy stronger, is we go into the future and make it solid, is to have every landowner who has land within the conservancy to join and--and sign up. >> the conservancy gives landowners around 170 dollars a month for a 60 hectare plot. by dealing with commercial business, a landowner could get up to 10 times that amount. for a struggling farmer, it's a tempting offer. land division is only one of many challenges to the conservancy idea.
naboisho is designed to allow wildlife to flourish, but on the edge of the conservancy, where the maasai are allowed to graze their cattle, increased numbers of animals like lions and leopards, have brought humans and predators into conflict. it is down to dominic sakat, the community liaison officer, to resolve these tensions. >> whenever a lion kill a sheep or a goat or a cow, eh, they put a sheep carcass and they put poison on the carcass. when a lion comes and eat the flesh, the poison flesh, it'll die. and when the hyena comes and eat the lion, it'll also die. so it's the [indistinct], it is a very great impact and actually it's a great loss to the environment. [engine starting] in 2 neighboring villages, there have been recent lion attacks on maasai cattle, and the communities are threatening to take revenge.
ongoing challenge of balancing human populations with the wildlife that brings in the tourists. every tourist who visits the conservancy helps pay the maasai landowners and provide jobs for the local community. unlike the national reserve, naboisho is owned and run by local maasai. this money is causing a revolution within maasai society and it is having unexpected consequences. women, who are traditionally uneducated, have found a new place within tourism. demand for female maasai guides is leading to a new wave of young maasai women signing up to naboisho's very own guiding school. women like sophie, lorna and agnes. >> i'm very happy i go to guiding school. i'm the only guide.
we're doing our part in our village and in our place, i'm the only guide who's doing tour guiding. >> they will have to know everything about the wildlife and plant life in the area, be able to speak english and french, and drive off-road in a 4x4 jeep. >> for a lady to be a guide, i can see the role model of our communities. it's very unusual, specially-- >> especially for the maasai ladies. >> yeah, for maasai ladies. >> they will be the face of the conservancy in dealing with the tourists who bring in the money. one of their key skills will be driving through difficult terrain. today is only a lesson, but once qualified, they will be out there on their own. >> sophie. >> mm-hmm.
[car door closes] >> i'm excited to see you drive right here. it looks slightly challenging. it's a bit rocky down here and also the dangers, there's a cro--crocodiles in this pond, so, you need to drive with your determination. ok. [starts engine] [speaking in maa] [engine revving] [speaking in maa]
[laughing] >> when i'm driving alone, i see a lot of people that are very happy, that are looking at me, "oh, i can't believe a lady drive in a such a rocky place like this one, why can't she be my wife." [laughing] >> everyone is looking at you. >> ahead of the girls are successful career as tour guides, but their livelihoods, like the conservancy, depend on the survival of the wildlife. >> hi, guys. [indistinct] we got one cow killed at the conservancy. >> the lion that recently
attacked cattle on the edge of the conservancy is in great danger of revenge attacks by the maasai herders. >> it's a lion. >> i think we shall go here first and then go down-- >> ok. >> dominic and the conservancy's team of scouts have to find the lion and warn any nearby herders to prevent further conflict. >> ok, so we have to-- >> let's go. >> yeah. [speaking in maa] >> with only a couple of hours until dark, when the lion will hunt again, the team doesn't have much time. >> [speaking in maa] >> [speaking in english]
so, it's a male and a female? ok, thank you. >> another scout team has heard reports of a lion attack not far from where they are. >> there's a hyena here running somewhere, and actually it's like, it has smelled something. and actually probably he will lead us where probably where the kill is. >> a hyena takes off as it gets wind of the kill and leads them deep into the thicket. revealed on the other side is what they've been searching for. >> a lion, actually, yeah, lions, 2 cubs? 3? i see 2 and a lioness. actually it's a big female,
you see? >> yeah. [speaking indistinctly] >> to dominic's delight, the lioness hasn't killed another cow, but it's feasting on a wildebeest instead. >> the three cubs, yeah? you can see now they're full, i mean their bellies are full and actually you can see them playing, all of them. it's wonderful. >> but tomorrow morning, maasai cattle will be let out to graze just a few hundred meters away, and dominic must be there to warn them off. >> yeah, actually here they are already, here they're grazing. actually, it's a lot of cattle, and we want [indistinct] and see now where they are. one was here. [speaking in maa]
[whistling] >> yeah, actually, as you can see now, the cows are very safe because they're in an open area so somebody can see the lion in a very far distance. if there is a lion there or an elephant or any kind of an animal. >> with the cattle moved out of the area, the risk of a lion attack has been prevented. >> i'm much happy to do my job because i'm dealing with the community people, dealing with the scouts, you know, i'm very much happy. >> it's been a good day for dominic, but for dickson and
his team, there's only 24 hours before the landowners meeting and everything is still hanging in the balance. >> [speaking in maa] he was saying he's very busy and... >> very busy? >> and he wanted to spray his cattle tomorrow, it depends really where the meeting is going to be. >> for some of the landowners, signing up to the conservancy will mean moving off their land and finding a new place to live. >> [speaking in maa] >> dickson has designed a relocation scheme for these landowners, but some are unconvinced, and the debate will continue until the final meeting tomorrow. >> tomorrow is going to be our last big chance to convince more people to join the conservancy.
so, we are just getting into this camp to pick wilson who is the accountant, who is going to be making the payments. hey, morning. >> morning. >> so you have everything in order? >> yes. >> so if the landowner signing up, wilson has prepared their payments and this time we are paying 3 months, yeah? >> yes. >> this is good, and this is almost a salary of a primary school teacher, so this is good. >> a lot. >> yeah, good job, let's go. >> there are 32 landowners that make up the extension, and dickson will have to persuade at least 20 of them for any significant corridor to be created between the conservancy and the national reserve. >> what time is it? >> 5 minutes to 10:00. >> 5 minutes to 10:00, we haven't seen anybody.
will have to move to the edge. it is a big demand, and there are heated objections, but finally the tide begins to turn. >> [speaking in maa] >> barba, the opinion leader that dickson went to meet last week, has arrived at a crucial time and is ready to give his verdict to the group. >> [speaking in maa]
>> with barba's influential support, the landowners are convinced and everyone agrees to sign up. it's an overwhelming success that will save the corridor land from commercial development, secure the future of the great migration and put the profits from tourism directly into the hands of the maasai. [speaking in maa] [speaking in maa]
>> for the first time in their lives, these maasai will have not only a lump sum of money, but a regular income for years to come. [speaking in maa] >> to receive their monthly payment, the landowners have to open up a bank account. this means a trip to the city, a first for some of the farmers. [speaking in maa] >> putting a regular income in
the hands of these maasai herders, marks a really turning point in kenyan history, and how this will affect maasai society is as yet unknown. >> [speaking in maa] [laughing] [laughing] [speaking in maa] >> for now, most are clear about what this income means. >> [speaking in maa] [chanting] [chanting continues] >> for the landowners, the real
value of the conservancy is the benefits it will bring to this and the next generation of maasai. >> right now we are just acting as guides, but on the other hand you have to act as an ambassador of the country and also an ambassador of the community. >> my personal goal for the next few years is to be able to inspire other community members living around the maasai mara to consider the conservancy concept. i feel the conservancy is providing opportunities for wildlife to do very well, while at same time is acting as a refuge for maasai livestock, and so the common goal of conserving [indistinct] and also sustaining livelihoods especially, i feel we're getting there, we're achieving. we've just crossed the key milestone for naboisho conservancy.